REPORT: Bowdler's Legacy - Internet Censorship in RI Public Libraries (Sept 2003)

September 8, 2003

A 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision, United States v. American Library Association, created an unfortunate exception to the basic principle that the internet should not be censored. This report is a survey of RI public libraries' policies governing “blocking software” and Internet access. The survey is identical to one conducted in 1997, when blocking software was first gaining attention. This report reviews the results of the survey, analyzes the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and its impact for local libraries, and concludes with recommendations designed to limit that impact.